New Humanist reports that hardline Islamists were ejected from the home of British Humanism on Wednesday night [17 June 2009]. The planned “debate” on Sharia law at Conway Hall in London was in fact, according to The Guardian, an attempt to relaunch the extreme Islamist group Al-Muhajiroun. Conway Hall is the historic home of British secularism, Humanism and freethought, and was where IHEU held its General Assembly and the First World Conference on Untouchability earlier this month.
The management of the London venue cancelled the meeting when it became clear that men and women attending the meeting were being segregated. In particular, women were being kept out of the main hall.
Douglas Murray, director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, who had been invited to share a platform with Anjem Choudary, Al-Muhajiroun’s leader, said that he had been invited under false pretences. He had been invited by a group claiming to be a student body, Global Issues Society, but the Islamists had hijacked the meeting.
Giles Enders, chairman of the South Place Ethical Society which runs the hall and which is itself an IHEU member organization, took the microphone. He said that segregation was not permitted under Conway Hall’s terms and conditions and he cancelled the meeting.
There were cheers from some women on the balcony, but he was barracked by large numbers of men in the body of the hall. There were scuffles before police arrived and it was reported that one man was assaulted. Police say that they are investigating.